“All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” — Richard Avedon

Of all the programmes for editing photos, Lightroom is one of the best. This software is great for anyone wanting to get started with photo editing.

According to a study by Into Trends, between 37% and 44% of American photographers use it. There are even suggestions that Lightbox can be used to do 80% of what Photoshop’s used for.

Even amateur photographers can use Lightroom. Since its creation in 2002, it’s become an essential tool. Thanks to Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC, retouching a photo’s never been so simple.

So how can you get started with Lightroom?

Don’t Panic!

Installing Lightroom CC

Lightroom is a photo editing programme that started out under the name of Shadowland. Over the years, the programme’s changed a lot, making it simpler and cheaper. After all, Adobe Lightroom, like Adobe Photoshop, isn’t free.

How do you install Lightroom?
Before you can use Lightroom, you'll need to install it. (Source: fancycrave1)

Depending on the storage, functions, or status, Lightroom is accessible. There’s a 30-day trial version available so that you can see what the programme’s capable of without spending a penny. This is a great way to be sure if the programme’s for you.

If you’re certain that Lightroom is the programme for you, you just need to go to Adobe.com. You can find it in the Adobe Creative Cloud applications where you can get it individually or with other programmes by Adobe.

You just need to go to the “Download” option and use your Adobe ID. The same is true for other Adobe programmes (like Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, etc.). It just takes a few clicks to create an account and download it. There’s a very simple tutorial to follow.

Once you’ve finished, you can open Lightroom on your computer. On Windows, you can find the programme in “program files” and on Macs, it’ll be under “Applications”.

If there are certain features from older versions that you miss, you can install multiple versions on the one machine.

Getting Used to Lightroom

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” - Yousuf Karsh

If you’ve never used Adobe Photoshop, the features of Lightroom won’t be obvious. With all the different settings and layouts, it might be tricky to get the hang of the programme if you don’t regularly use it. That’s why it’ll take some time to get used it. You’ll soon get the hang of it.

Importing a Photo into Lightroom

Of course, what would Lightroom be without photos?

To retouch, organise, or index photos, you’ll need to import some. The first step is quite simple and you can import photos from your computer or camera.

How do you import photos in Lightroom?
With digital photos, you can import them into software and retouch them. (Source: DariuszSankowski)

In the library module, you need to click on “Import” at the bottom right and a small window will pop up. The right column indicates where the images will be stored and the left shows where they’re coming from.

In the right column, you can use keywords to reference your photos in the library. It can make finding them very easy.

Once you’ve done all this, your photos are ready to import. It’s quite simple to import from a computer or hard disk. To import photos into the Lightroom Classic CC catalogue, you just need to:

  • Choose the folder where your photos are currently stored.
  • Click on “Add” to import the photos.
  • Make sure you only select the photos you want to import.
  • There are a few extra steps you can take depending on how you want to import your photos.

The steps are slightly different for importing from a camera:

  • Choose the camera card on the left.
  • Click on “Copy”.
  • Select the photos you want.
  • There are also the same options available for importing from a computer or hard disk.

To start the import, you just need to click “Import” at the bottom right of your screen and your image editor will do the rest.

Looking for a free photo editing programme?

Consider using GIMP.

Add Information to Photos to Organise Them

You should always make sure your photos are organised. After all, this is one of Lightroom’s most powerful features; how it organises and indexes photos. You can add copyright information and other metadata to your images using the photo editor.

What are the benefits of Lightroom?
With Lightroom, you can get the most out of your photos. (Source: rawpixel)

It should be noted that all photos in Lightroom are organised by date by default. To see them, you just need to click on “Catalog”.

On the right, you can see all the metadata. The metadata includes information such as the iso and the dimensions. It’s a way to find out more about the photo in question.

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On the left, you can see the folders where your photos are stored. To add a folder, you just need to select the photos and click on the small “+” in “Collections” and then click “Create Collection”.

Simple but effective!

On a Mac?

Think about using Aperture.

The Different Tools in Lightroom

Lightroom is a programme for editing photos and it includes a number of simple and effect tools for photographers. These include:

  • Red-eye correction
  • Noise reduction
  • Cropping an image
  • Choosing and applying presets
  • Removing faults
  • Changing the colours
  • Using the brush
  • Improving the white balance
  • Clipping
  • Increasing the sharpness
  • Applying layers
  • Accentuating certain colours
  • And other plugins!

Let’s focus on some of the powerful features that beginners can use on Lightroom.

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Applying a Lightroom Preset

What’s a Lightroom preset?

These are a series of rules that can be applied to individual photos and groups of photos. There’s a good number of free presets available. Some can improve the warm tones, others can remove noise, and you can find presets for almost everything. There are sites with tutorials and free presets. To install a preset, you can just follow the instructions on the site, download the file, and open them in Lightroom. Click on “Import”, ensuring that you create a special folder for your presets.

To use your favourite presets, you just need to right-click and select it. You can then modify them if you don’t like them.

Removing Red-Eye with Lightroom

In low-light photos where a flash has been used, the subjects’ eyes can appear red. Don’t worry! You can fix this with Lightroom.

Click on the “Develop” module. Zoom into the part of the photos and click “Red-eye Correction” on the right of the screen. Place the cross on the eye you need to correct, adjust the dimensions of the circle and then using the size and pupil tool you can darken the red-eye effect. You can do the same for the second eye. Now you look more human!

Blurring Part of a Photo on Lightroom

Who’s never dreamed of taking a photo where one part of the photo is beautifully sharp and the other part is blurred. With a digital photo, a computer or phone, and Lightroom, you can create this effect.

How do you add blur in Lightroom?
You might want a shallow depth of focus for small subjects. (Source: michaeljberlin)

You can choose a radial filter. You just need to select the area you don’t want to blur.

You can also invert the mask, accentuate or reduce the blurred area, and change the blur effect. This is how you can get a profession-looking photo without tutorials.

In short, Lightroom is a goldmine of tools for retouching photos and organise them. You can get a license that allows you to enjoy new functions, plugins, and extras. Have fun with your photo editing!

If you need help with Adobe Photoshop CC, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, or any other image editing software, consider getting a tutor to help you!

There are three main types of tutorial available on the site: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and the best one for you really depends on your situation.

Face-to-face tutorials are the most personal and have you and your tutor working together for the whole session. Of course, this bespoke service comes at a cost, making it the most costly type of tutorial available.

Online tutorials are similar to face-to-face tutorials with the main difference being that the tutor isn't physically in the room with you. Thanks to services like Skype, a tutor can teach you remotely using a webcam and an internet connection.

Finally, there are group tutorials. In these types of tutorials, there are several students and just one tutor. With all the students sharing the cost of the tutor's time, these tutorials are usually the cheapest per person per hour but each student won't get the bespoke tutoring or one-on-one time that they would in the other types of tutorials.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.